Weighing the Liability Risk

The fitness industry is vulnerable to all kinds of liability claims. From a dropped dumbbell to a fall off a treadmill or a health emergency, the risks are fairly extensive. Even if you have no control over someone’s actions, it’s easy to get drawn into a lawsuit. 

In addition to personal injury claims from falls, slips, or equipment misuse, fitness centers face additional exposure when patrons work out with a personal trainer. Other distinct risks come into play as health clubs evolve, including a growing emergence of specialty gyms and unstaffed 24-hour clubs.

As a fitness club owner, you can minimize risk with some proactive measures like these:

  • Review your general liability coverage with an agent. 
  • Require professional liability policies for all independently contracted trainers.
  • Secure hold harmless agreements and liability waivers from all club members. 
  • Provide regular safety training for staff, as well as safety incentives to encourage vigilance.

One other key way you can help ensure safety and reduce claims: keep the club clean and maintained. Be diligent with your maintenance records and enlist staff in keeping the facility tidy and organized. Encourage club members to wipe down equipment after use and report maintenance concerns. 

Insuring health clubs requires customized policies because of the unique nature of niche clubs. Insurance provisions may be streamlined for focused class facilities, such as yoga or barre studios, versus more comprehensive family fitness facilities. 

Be sure to tell your agent about all the products and services your club provides, including child care, nutritional supplements, massage, and other professional consultations. And, if you engage in off-site training, contact your insurance agent to make sure your liability extends off premises.